The Eduroam Wi-Fi service has been turned on in 57 of Cape Town’s public libraries, allowing University of Cape Town (UCT) staff and students to access free internet as if they were on campus.
The initiative also means students and staff from any university which uses eduroam, including all four the public universities in the Western Cape (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape), can now access their institution’s high-speed network from the City’s libraries and work there as though they were on their own campus.
The initiative, to broaden availability of the wireless roaming service that provides free internet access to the research and education community globally, comes courtesy of a joint initiative between the City of Cape Town and the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET).
Cape Town is the first city in South Africa to roll out the service on such a wide scale, according to Guy Halse, director for trust and identity at TENET.
TENET chief executive Duncan Greaves said initiatives such as this one, which benefits all four public universities in the Western Cape, are particularly important in South Africa, where the students who are least able to afford internet access often live the furthest from campus.
“These students enjoy world-class access when on campus but may be unable to read email or access learning resources while at home,” he said, adding that bringing Eduroam coverage into public spaces in areas such as Khayelitsha and Gugulethu provides another way for students living there to access online learning material without travelling to campus or paying high data costs.